Awfully Good: Return of the Killer Tomatoes with George Clooney

Before he was a MONEY MONSTER, let's revisit what George Clooney used to have to do for cash…

Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988)

Director: John De Bello
Stars: George Clooney, Anthony Starke, Karen Mistal


An evil scientist discovers a way to use music to turn tomatoes in to human super soldiers, and only George Clooney and some guy no one remembers can stop him. 

If you're unfamiliar with the Killer Tomato films (read our reviews of ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES and KILLER TOMATOES EAT FRANCE), they were a series of ridiculous cult movies in the late 80s and early 90s that were inherently silly but still managed to be fun. Given the titles, you should know exactly what you're getting with a film centered around vicious vegetables, and these flicks give you exactly that. 


And yes, George Clooney is one of the stars of this movie, the second entry in the epic quadrilogy. And while it’s obviously not his best work, the Oscar-winner shouldn't be too embarrassed to have it on his resume either. In fact, RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES has a carefree attitude that noted prankster Clooney might actually be proud of. Plus, the smarmy knocks at corporate advertising, the digs at the Screen Actors Guild, the anti-war sentiment of the Great Tomato War—it all jives with the social and political commentary the actor so unabashedly loves. 

Oh, who am I kidding? You should rent this sucker just to see the future Hollywood superstar save the world with a half-mullet and romp around with bikini-clad tomato babes. 

George Clooney could not secure the same caliber cast for OCEANS FOURTEEN.

As for the movie itself, RETURN is even more tongue-in-cheek than the original, if that’s possible. Director John De Bello is back, but he's put together a very different film. If ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES was a takeoff of the old Zucker-Abrams flicks, RETURN is an insane tribute to the self-aware anarchy of Monty Python. The film opens with the makers accidentally showing BIG BREASTED GIRLS GO TO THE BEACH AND TAKE THEIR TOPS OFF and trying to decide if they should even bother switching it over to the actual movie. There's a cowboys vs. ninjas fight scene that happens halfway through, with zero context or explanation, and is never mentioned again. And who could forget the touching romantic story between a young man and a tomato that includes lots of sex and toast? 

When your dental hygiene is OUT OF SIGHT…

There's also the constant meta-humor acknowledging that this is all just a really dumb movie. A bad guy asks a random extra if there's been a chase scene in the film yet as he gets in to his car. Someone needs a piece of paper to write down a note and Clooney offers him a page from his script. And after the first act, the film runs out of money and breaks the fourth wall as the cast and crew decide to revert to blatant product placement—pimping out random consumer goods for the rest of the running time. 

The zany, self-referential style lends itself to a unending stream of gags, and overall more jokes work than don't. And there is a lot of memorable material here. Everyone needs to hear the sultry, Sinatra-esque ballad “Touch Me There” at least once in their life.

This was not THE GOOD GERMAN George was looking for. 

However, if you enjoyed all the rampaging produce in the first movie…well, you might be disappointed. Despite the title, there are pretty much no killer tomatoes in RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES. You see, crazy old scientist Professor Gangreen (John Astin, of original Addams Family fame) has figured out a way to turn the fleshy fruit in to humans using music. When he plays rock music he gets Rambo clones; when he plays pop he gets Michael Jackson; and when he plays classical music, he creates a beautiful woman named Tara. Tara eventually escapes (with her loveable, merchandise-friendly furry tomato pet), and meets nice guy Chad and his horndog friend George Clooney (who ironically has to pretend to be Rob Lowe to sleep with women). Together they all have to stop Professor Gangreen and his army of tomato people before he replaces all world leaders with vegetable counterparts. 

George Clooney…always having ONE FINE DAY.

It's just as stupid as it sounds. But did I mention the bad guy can turn tomatoes in to voluptuous, servile young women? I think I figured out the reason George Clooney signed on to this movie.  

A sexy tomato woman, a bad reporter, and George Clooney singing a dumb song.

Big breasted girls at the beach (with George Clooney), more from the world's worst reporter, and the cowboys vs, ninjas fight.

Brief side boob!

It probably has a literally high rotten tomatoes score. Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • There’s product placement
  • They show footage from the first movie
  • There's an original song
  • Tara makes toast 
Double shot if:
  • Igor smiles

Thanks to Joe for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Extra Tidbit: At one point the KILLER TOMATOES series was going to be rebooted by the guys behind the Ask a Ninja web series. Thankfully, that fell through.
Source: JoBlo.com



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